Body found in river

CHESTER, W.Va. – A woman’s body was found in the Ohio River Wednesday afternoon by men working at the East Liverpool dry docks near the Jennings Randolph Bridge, officials said.

Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher, whose department is handling the investigation because most of the river is in West Virginia, would not release the woman’s name Wednesday pending notification of relatives.

Fletcher said the woman’s body was spotted floating in the river late Wednesday afternoon by some workers at the East Liverpool dry docks, just downriver from the bridge.

“We don’t have a lot to go on yet,” he said. “We have no indication as to how it got there.”

After the body sighting was reported, the Chester Volunteer Fire Department deployed two boats manned by six firefighters who conducted the recovery operation.

Fire Chief John Hissam said the body apparently had been in the water for a while and was caught on the end of one of the barges.

“Someone over there found the body, and we were called to recover it,” he said.

Hancock County Medical Examiner Dezso Polgar responded to the scene once the woman’s body was brought to the Chester City Park boat launch.

Fletcher said the body was taken from there to Weirton Medical Center.

Wednesday’s body sighting happened almost a year to the day that another body was recovered from the Ohio River. Found on April 17, 2013, near the Wellsville intermodal facility, the body was later identified as that of Tim Ralston, of Chester.

Ralston disappeared on Nov. 20, 2012, when witnesses said he jumped from the Jennings Randolph Bridge after a violent confrontation with his wife and son at their High Acres Drive home.

Ralston was found five months later, about seven miles downriver.